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Solving Zoe

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  353 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews

Zoe Bennett feels lost at her fancy private school.

She's not the star drama queen like her sister, or a brainiac math genius like her brother. Luckily her best friend, Dara, is just as content as Zoe is to stay in the shadows -- or is she? When Dara gets a part in the school musical, Zoe feels abandoned. What's worse, Zoe's practically being stalked by the weird new ki
Paperback, 230 pages
Published April 21st 2010 by Aladdin Mix (first published April 2nd 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Marta Morrison for

Zoe is eleven years old and has been going to the same school all of her life, Hubbard School.

This school isn't a regular school, but one for extraordinary students. Zoe's older sister and brother both go there, as well. Her sister is an amazing actress/singer and her brother is a math champion. Ever her little brother, Spencer, goes to pre-school there.

Zoe is having problems figuring out how she fits into the scheme of things at the school. Her g
Milana Waller
2.5 Personally, I think this book was just kind of weird.... I would probably have been better if if was written in first person because I loved Barbara Dee's Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life which is the only reason that I bought this book
Nov 29, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever struggled to figure out where you belong, if you've ever wondered why everyone else seemed to be more talented than you, or if you've ever felt ignored and betrayed by your friends (and especially if all of this encapsulates your middle school experience), this might be the book for you.
Josh Newhouse
Mar 24, 2012 Josh Newhouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am liking it, but I don't think it will appeal to your average student reader... However private school, advanced readers and those who feel outcast will glom onto Zoe... I enjoyed the bits about codes and ciphers, but was not crazy about the end which seemed a bit anticlimactic... Odd little book...
Apr 09, 2009 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zoe Bennett’s older sister and brother both have special talents and gifts. In fact they all go to a private school for gifted or special students. A new school year puts thirteen-year old Zoe in the Middle Division of Hubbard School. It’s now expected that she find a direction in her schooling and life. Her classmates are all starting to recognize their individual talents. Even her best friend, Dara, has discovered her talent and desires for her future and is drifting away from Zoe.

The sad thin
Zoe Bennett attends Hubbard School, an incredibly forward-thinking institution for extremely gifted students. Problem is: Zoe hasn't found her incredible gift yet, much to her chagrin. You see, her theatrically talented older sister, Isadore, and mathematical genius of a brother, Malcolm always seem to shine in the family. Even Zoe's best friend and kindred spirit is slipping away now that she's found her gift.

Along comes Lucas Joplin, loner and oddity. He deciphers codes and cyphers...and not
Feb 28, 2009 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Solving Zoe was really cute. The plot and the characters made the book really fun.

What I liked best about Solving Zoe was Zoe, the main character. She had a ton of character and I thought it was interesting that she was extremely good at ciphers. I tried looking at them and solving such luck. Haha. Anyway, I thought Zoe was pretty in-depth person. She is really creative and I really liked that color code where 4=blue and so on [4 is the only one I remember:].

And Lucas, he is a genius
Kate H.
May 10, 2009 Kate H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All people who feel like they don't belong and that they're not special
I loved this book a lot. Zoe was a character that I could easily grow to love because she is both believable and ease to connect to. Zoe also had troubles that are common today, growing apart with friends. Almost everyone experiences it, some more often than others. But Zoe also learns a lot about herself in this book.

My friend Lizzy is actually Barbara Dee's daughter and so after I read this we talked on and on about it. We both compared our separate color number systems and laughed when other
Julia Gay
Aug 27, 2012 Julia Gay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pages 1, 27, 112, 120 and 156 contain a character's exclamation of either, "Oh, God" or ohmygod or "God". In the USA there are over 247 million Christians, over 6 million Jews and over 2.6 million Muslims. Christians and Jews are admonished in Exodus 20:7 to "not take the Lord's name in vain", in fact, Exodus 20:7 also states the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who misuses His name. Muslims, likewise, honor the name of God. The author's decision to take the Lord's name in vain will influe ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Jnase1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book thinking it would be a realistic fiction/chick lit type book for middle schoolers. I guess if I had read the summary on the back, I would have known. Even though it didn't start off as I expected, I still ended up enjoying the book, although the ending wasn't what it could have been. It just kind of ended. I think Dee could have elaborated a bit more on the whole cracking the Mayan code thing, but I guess it leaves it open for another book. It would be fun to have Lucas come ...more
Think it might be a little mature for 4th graders (maybe end of the year) just in terms of relating to the main character, but I would love this for 5th graders (as it's about 6th). It handles social issues and popularity in a realistic, not over-the-top stereotypical way I thought was nicely done, as well as self-identification and confidence. Plus the use of ciphers and codes would definitely lure some kids (me) in; I know one of my kids last year started using one of them occasionally for fun ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-life-reads
Solving Zoe is an amazing book and I loved how Zoe is like a pride kid, eccentric, quirky (don't know if they mean the same thing) and sees things in a different way. She has a different sort of talents and interests all together than her "perfect" family and doesn't fit in at her arts school, often bringing shame to her family but through mysterious guys, teachers, and babysitters, Zoe can help unwravel codes from the beginning of time using her unique colour theory.
Addison Children
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it it was ok
Shelves: chapter-books
Zoe, a sixth grader, is suddenly feeling a bit lost at the excusive private school she has attended her whole life. Her best friend, Dara, is in the school play and making friends with the popular crowd, while Zoe feels left behind. Zoe meets up with a strange new boy and discovers she has a natural talent for cryptography. It seems this school is glad to encourage any talent and they all live happily ever after. The ending is nearly that abrupt.
I enjoyed the codes and ciphers and thought that the main character was well-drawn. However, I had one issue with the book that I feel the need to point out: Zoe has an after school job tending lizards for an owner who, supposedly, knows what a lizard is. The book mentions salamanders and newts, which are amphibians, not reptiles and certainly not lizards.

This may sound picky, but it's the type of error that bothers me--and one that kids are likely to notice.
Sandra Stiles
This has a theme similar to so many I have recently read. Zoe starts middle school and realizes things change. Boys become interested in girls. What made this book so different from my other recent reads is that Zoe loves breaking codes. This was an okay book for me but not something I would re-read. It was well written but not a topic I could really sink my teeth into. I will recommend this to my ESOL class because we just finished a couple of stories that involved codes.
Apr 07, 2009 phebe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was funny, touching and unusual. The main character, Zoe, was very likeable. Her family was funny and realistic,I thought the school she went to was cool, and I also loved all the secret code stuff. Fun to read and different.
Horace Mann Family Reading Challenge
Zoe is an eleven year old girl who is trying to find herself in a family of really smart and talented brothers and sisters. To make matters even worst, her school is full of smart and talented students. Life gets really interesting for Zoe finds Lucus's notebook, and her name is in it. JC
Apr 20, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fuuuuunnnn, mystery
This book was really good!!! It was very well written, and I was captivated from the beginning!!

This book was full of fun facts about codes and cyphers, and it really described social scenes well!!
May 18, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I liked the story, and the quirky school was an enjoyable setting. however, the book felt unresolved, as though a few chapters were missing. At times Zoe frustrated me by not sharing her thoughts with anyone.
Kristina Arnold
Zoe just wants to be normal but just like in every day life no one is really normal. This is a great book for intermediate students simply because of the fact that they need to know that normal does not really exist.
Genesis C.
This is a odd book for kids 9-13. It is very educational but the plot is original. The whole idea of a girl baby-sitting a lizard, who soon befriends a brainiac who solves ancient writings, is not the average everyday- read.
Dec 06, 2010 Funnycows rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book. Once I read Just another Day in My Insanely Real Life, I was hooked on Dee. She's amazing and I love her creative deciphering problems!!!! You should really read this book if you like puzzles.
May 10, 2012 Sanjida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. There were many different problems for the character.
Jan 10, 2010 Nammissgirl14 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
currently reading
I think everyone can relate to this book. At some point everyone feels left out and over shadowed.
Jan 26, 2012 Lark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mmmmm this is such a good book. Solve this code: (Hint: a=11, g=18, s=30)

12112912112911 151616 2030 30321419 11 18262615 113231192629!

(Read the book if you're stumped!)
Jun 18, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Cute coming of age story about how a girl figures out what's special about herself. I especially like the descriptions and settings...not so realistic sometimes, but isn't that why we read!
Wordy Nerd
I liked it a lot. It was a very fascinating story. But, I thought there could have been more to the story. I liked most of the characters especially Lucas and Zoe. Loved it.
Jul 12, 2010 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. It is basically just middle school realistic fiction but there are some interesting characters thrown in.
Aug 16, 2012 Abbycat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book with a main character that found out she could read codes, and a new kid who's a pro at it. The book included the codes at the end.
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